ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:
First, a strong start from Blake Snell.
Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had been quieted.
Check, and check.
And a 6-3 win in the last game between the teams until August.
Snell continued his impressive run with another solid outing, working six shutout innings while allowing only three hits, walking two and striking out eight, including Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez to start the game.
"He looked really good,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He kind of set the tone the first at-bat with Mookie that he was going to come right after guys, and he did that.''
Snell sailed through the first four innings, then seemed to lose command in the fifth. Though it didn't cost him any runs, it ran up his pitch count. He was done at 101 pitches after six.
"Every start I want to be aggressive,'' Snell said. "Power, no art has kind of been the motto. … The first four innings I was very happy with."
And the offense took advantage of an off-night from Porcello, and some shaky Boston defense, loading the bases in the first two innings and scoring five times.
The Rays' Wilson Ramos was in the middle of both rallies, while Denard Span, who was on base four times, and Matt Duffy, who had two hits, also had big nights.
"A lot of good at-bats,'' Cash said.
The Rays also played some good defense, which definitely helped as well.
Adames: Going down is ‘going to be tough’
SS Willy Adames was sent back to Triple-A Durham after the game, with INF Joey Wendle returning from a three-day paternity leave. Adames, who impressed on and off the field, said he appreciated the opportunity and felt like he learned a lot during his three-game stint. Though he knew the parameters of his callup, that didn't make going down any easier. "Yeah, it's going to be tough,'' he said. "I knew it as soon as I got here, and I think I prepared myself mentally to go back. I know I've got to get better in some things to get back here. But it's going to be tough.'' Adames was 2-for-12 with six strikeouts in the three games, hitting a homer off Red Sox ace LHP Chris Sale and throwing Eduardo Nunez out at home. But he also made a ninth-inning throwing error Wednesday that led to three runs.
Medical matters: Eovaldi, Gomez, Chirinos
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (arthroscopic elbow surgery) came through his fourth and final rehab outing Thursday feeling fine even though he gave up 10 hits for Triple-A Durham. He's expected to join the rotation Monday or Tuesday in Oakland. … OF Carlos Gomez (groin strain) ran and took batting practice with no issues, will play in an extended spring training game today in Port Charlotte and, if all goes well, come off the disabled list Saturday or Sunday. … RHP Yonny Chirinos (forearm strain) threw 33 pitches over two innings, with two hits, two walks and two strikeouts in his first rehab outing for the Stone Crabs.
LF Span had an adventurous night, twice going over the 3-foot high sidewall. The first time he collided with a fan, the second he landed hard on the ground, helped up by mascot Raymond. "Both times just trying to make a play,'' he said. "The first one, I wore his beer. … The second one Raymond hooked me up. … I believe it was Raymond, I kind of blacked out a bit. … I was just trying to get some nachos."
• Two-way prospect LHP/1B Brendan McKay made a second dazzling pitching appearance since his promotion to the advanced Class A Stone Crabs, working six shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out five.
• Las Vegas native OF Johnny Field was looking forward to the Lightning facing his Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup final, but he might luck into an opportunity to see his hometown team. Game 4 is June 4 in Washington, where the Rays have an off-night. Field's prediction: Knights in six.
• RHP Alex Cobb has already pitched twice this season against his former Rays mates in Baltimore. Today will be weirder when he returns to the Trop as a visitor.